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Canada to roll out automated drug dispensers to help fight opioid crisis

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Canada is set to roll out automated drug dispensers that can provide clean, doctor-prescribed medicine to opioid addicts by scanning their palm.

These machines are called MySafe Verified Identity Dispensers and weigh about 360kg. They are said to be “tamper proof”.

The dispensers have been designed so addicts can get opioids like hydromorphone that are clean instead of potentially dangerous knock offs from the street.

UK Government officially announces National Institute for Health Protection to replace Public Health England

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The UK Government has officially announced that Public Health England will be replaced by the National Institute for Health Protection.

The government says the move has come due to the coronavirus pandemic, as they want the country to be better prepared for future pandemics. Matt Hancock, the British Health Secretary, told the press: “To give ourselves the best chance of beating this virus once and for all... we are creating a brand new organisation to provide a new approach to public health protection and resilience.

Jonathan Sackler, co-owner of Purdue Pharma, dies from cancer

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Jonathan Sackler, son of Purdue Pharma founder Raymond Sackler, died on 30 June from cancer, according to the company. He was 65.

Jonathan served as an executive board member for Purdue but had recently stepped down, while retaining his ownership of the company. He had also been Vice President in the past, but was not as involved as his brother Richard who was Chief Executive.

FDA panel votes against Nektar opioid painkiller

FDA unanimously voted against Nektar Therapeutics opioid pankiller (NKTR-181) for chronic lower back pain, prompting the company to withdraw its application.

It voted 27-0 against the approval over concerns of people abusing the drug. They also felt that there was a lack of data to determine the possible abuse when snorted or injected and its potential for liver toxicity.

Rochester Drug Cooperative ceases opioid sales following criminal charges

The Rochester Drug Cooperative (RDC) has announced it will no longer distribute opioid medications after two of its executives were charged with illegally distributing opioids and conspiring to defraud the FDA.

The RDC said in a statement that: "The ever-increasing expenses associated with the legal and regulatory compliance for this segment of drugs are simply not sustainable. While these specific drugs represent a relatively small percent of total sales, they account for significant legal and compliance."

Sackler family withdrew $10 billion from Purdue Pharma while legal pressure mounted, audit shows

An audit commissioned by Purdue Pharma, to help navigate its bankruptcy, indicates that members of the Sackler family withdrew $10.7 billion from the company and distributed it amongst its trusts and overseas holding companies, according to reporting by The New York Times.

Trevena's opioid injection fails to win over FDA committee

Trevena has seen its opioid injection oliceridine fail to win over an FDA advisory panel in the management of acute pain – a hard sell against the ongoing US backdrop of lethal opioid addiction.

The Anesthetic and Analgesic Drug Products Advisory Committee (AADPAC) voted 8-7 against the therapy for the management of moderate to severe acute pain where an intravenous (IV) opioid is required, after reviewing full clinical data from two efficacy studies and one safety study emulating real-world use of the drug. In a release confirming the commiuttee’s decision, Trevena said that

US Senate pass bipartisan bill to tackle opioid crisis

The US Senate have passed a bipartisan bill aimed at combatting the opioid crisis.

The bill, which was passed with a 99-1 vote, includes more than 70 provisions aimed at tackling the opioid crisis.

Senator Mike Lee, a libertarian leaning Republican representative for Utah, was the only Senator to oppose the bill.

The bill sets out tochannel money towards research into non-addictive painkillers while also introducing measures to prevent synthetic opioids from being imported into the United States illegally.

Purdue-owning Sackler family own second opioid drug maker, FT reveals

Image Credit: User:OgreBot/Watercraft/2016 October 11

The billionaire Sackler family, the owners of OxyContin drugmaker Purdue Pharma, have been revealed to own a second opioid drug producing company, according to the Financial Times.

Ketamine’s antidepressant effects may be linked to brain’s opioid system

Image Credit: ZEISS Microscopy

Ketamine’s antidepressant effect works through the activation of the brains opioid receptors, a new study published in The American Journal of Psychiatry suggests.

While Ketamine was first synthesized in 1962, and was first approved for use as an anaesthetic in 1970, it wasn’t until the 21st century until the drug’s antidepressant effects were recognised by medical professionals. However the complex process through which ketamine relieves depression remains unclear.

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